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Explain How Cells Use Active Transport

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Active transport is the movement of substances from an area of low concentration to a higher concentration, either into or out of cells.

 

Image of carrier proteins and active transport

 

 

During active transport, carriers in the cell membrane ‘pick up’ particles and move them against the concentration gradient.

As the name suggests, active transport requires energy from the cell, which is made available by respiration.

 

Image showing active transport

 

In the picture above, there are three particles outside the cell and five particles inside the cell. The three particles will be carried through to the inside of the cell by the carrier protein, using energy to do so.

 

 

Uses of Active Transport

 

 Image of villi in intestine

 

 

During digestion, the villi in the small intestine absorb the nutrients from our digested food. Over time, the concentration of nutrients in the villi becomes equal to the concentration in the gut. The cells need these nutrients, so active transport is used to continue the transporting of the small amounts of remaining nutrients. 
.

Image of root hair cell

 

 

Plants need to absorb minerals such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium from the soil for healthy growth. When the concentration of minerals in the soil is lower than inside the plant, active transport is used to absorb the minerals against the concentration gradient. If plants used diffusion instead of active transport, the plants would be drained of all their minerals because they would travel down the concentration gradient - the plant would lose all its nutrients to the soil.

 

In the following activity, you will explain how cells use the process of active transport. 

Plant and animal cells use active transport to transport important nutrients into their cells.

 

Describe active transport. 

Glucose molecules can be absorbed from the intestines into the blood by active transport.

 

Why is active transport needed? 

The concentration of glucose is higher in the intestines than in the blood

The concentration of glucose is lower in the intestines than in the blood

Active transport is needed to move the glucose molecules down the concentration gradient

Active transport is needed to move the glucose molecules against the concentration gradient

Plants need important nutrients such as nitrates in order to grow.

 

Match up the sentences describing how active transport helps plants get the nutrients they need.

Column A

Column B

The concentration of minerals in the soil is very ...
...them into the cell against the concentration gr...
Root hair cells are adapted to absorb the water ou...
...in water and move around the soil in solution
Minerals such as nitrate ions cannot be absorbed b...
...surface area and thin walls
The root hair cells have carrier molecules on thei...
...diffusion (because the minerals are in very low...

The diagram below shows molecules of nitrates in the soil. There are two molecules of nitrates in the soil and four molecules of nitrates in the root hair cell of a plant. The nitrates will move into the root hair cell from the soil.

 

What makes this possible?  

 

 

Image of nitrates taken up by active transport

Carrier protein

Nucleus

Root hair cell

Energy

What are some of the differences between osmosis and active transport? 

 

Image of carrier proteins and active transport     Image of particles moving via osmosis

Osmosis and active transport are two processes used by cells in plants and animals.

 

Name a similarity between the process of osmosis and active transport. 

 

Image of carrier proteins and active transport     Image of particles moving via osmosis

Moves down concentration gradient

Energy needed

Transports substances into or out of cells

Carrier protein needed

The image below shows glucose moving against a concentration gradient during digestion.

 

How does the cell transport the glucose across the cell membrane? 

 

Image of glucose into cell via active transport

Energy is needed to transport substances through a carrier protein

Substances can move by diffusion

The carrier protein is not needed to transport substances

The carrier protein is selective and only specific substances can pass through, like glucose

The diagram below shows molecules of nitrates in the soil. There are two molecules of nitrates in the soil and four molecules of nitrates in the root hair cell of a plant.

 

Why is it important that the nitrates move by active transport and not diffusion? 

 

Image of nitrates taken up by active transport

Diffusion would take longer to transport the nitrates

Diffusion would mean the plant would lose nitrates to the soil

Diffusion is passive

Glucose is transported into cells for respiration. The picture below shows three molecules of glucose outside the cell and five molecules of glucose inside the cell.

 

Select which arrow fits best in box a and box b below.

 

Image of carrier proteins transporting glucose

(a) →

(b) ←

(a) ↓

(b) ↓

George and Paul are taking care of their house plants. George adds some fertiliser to one of the plants. The fertiliser contains nitrogen in the form of nitrates.

George and Paul both think that the plant's root hair cells absorb the nitrates. However, George thinks this process is by osmosis, whereas Paul thinks that the nitrates are absorbed through active transport.

 

Who is correct? 

George

Paul

Both Paul and George

  • Question 1

Plant and animal cells use active transport to transport important nutrients into their cells.

 

Describe active transport. 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
How did you get on with this definition? Remember to look back at the Introduction if you're finding this hard. In brief, active transport allows particles to move in the opposite direction to the way that diffusion naturally works. Instead of molecules automatically diffusing from a high to a low concentration, it allows movement the other way - from low to high. Active transport is really important for cells - they're able to get the substances they need for different processes like digestion. Active transport ensures that substances are absorbed regardless of concentration levels.
  • Question 2

Glucose molecules can be absorbed from the intestines into the blood by active transport.

 

Why is active transport needed? 

CORRECT ANSWER
The concentration of glucose is lower in the intestines than in the blood
Active transport is needed to move the glucose molecules against the concentration gradient
EDDIE SAYS
This is quite a complicated topic, so don't worry if you find it tricky. It's not a bad idea to go back to the Introduction and have another look, if you're having trouble with any of these questions. Even if there isn't much glucose in the intestines, what glucose there is there needs to be transported against the concentration gradient into the blood through active transport. This is because our cells need important substances, such as glucose, for respiration. Without active transport, the remaining glucose in the intestines could not diffuse into the blood because the glucose concentration would be higher in the blood than in the intestines.
  • Question 3

Plants need important nutrients such as nitrates in order to grow.

 

Match up the sentences describing how active transport helps plants get the nutrients they need.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

The concentration of minerals in ...
...in water and move around the s...
Root hair cells are adapted to ab...
...surface area and thin walls
Minerals such as nitrate ions can...
...diffusion (because the mineral...
The root hair cells have carrier ...
...them into the cell against the...
EDDIE SAYS
Wow, this was a challenging activity - well done if you managed to work them all out! With osmosis and diffusion, particles move from a higher concentration to a lower concentration. With active transport, it is the opposite - from a lower concentration to a higher concentration.
  • Question 4

The diagram below shows molecules of nitrates in the soil. There are two molecules of nitrates in the soil and four molecules of nitrates in the root hair cell of a plant. The nitrates will move into the root hair cell from the soil.

 

What makes this possible?  

 

 

Image of nitrates taken up by active transport

CORRECT ANSWER
Carrier protein
Energy
EDDIE SAYS
This might have appeared tricky at first glance, so you need to think back to your definition of active transport to help you. Remember active transport is only possible if there is energy to power the process - so that must be one of your answers. A carrier protein is also needed for the particles to pass through the cell's membrane. Great work - on to the next question!
  • Question 5

What are some of the differences between osmosis and active transport? 

 

Image of carrier proteins and active transport     Image of particles moving via osmosis

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
How did you get on with this one? Did you hesitate on the one to do with concentration gradients? Osmosis is a process that goes down the concentration gradient - from high to low, whereas active transport goes against the gradient. Osmosis and active transport are almost opposite processes in that one is passive (osmosis) and the other needs energy (active transport). Remembering one process will hopefully help you to remember the other!
  • Question 6

Osmosis and active transport are two processes used by cells in plants and animals.

 

Name a similarity between the process of osmosis and active transport. 

 

Image of carrier proteins and active transport     Image of particles moving via osmosis

CORRECT ANSWER
Transports substances into or out of cells
EDDIE SAYS
There was only one option to tick this time - did you get it? Osmosis and active transport have many differences, but are similar in one key way - they are both used to transport different substances into or out of cells. How they transport these substances is where they differ.
  • Question 7

The image below shows glucose moving against a concentration gradient during digestion.

 

How does the cell transport the glucose across the cell membrane? 

 

Image of glucose into cell via active transport

CORRECT ANSWER
Energy is needed to transport substances through a carrier protein
The carrier protein is selective and only specific substances can pass through, like glucose
EDDIE SAYS
Did you get the two correct options here - active transport is only possible using a carrier protein. Carrier proteins require energy to do this and are selective - they only let specific particles pass through the membrane. Active transport allows substances to move, using energy, from a low to a high concentration. Without energy this process wouldn't be able to happen.
  • Question 8

The diagram below shows molecules of nitrates in the soil. There are two molecules of nitrates in the soil and four molecules of nitrates in the root hair cell of a plant.

 

Why is it important that the nitrates move by active transport and not diffusion? 

 

Image of nitrates taken up by active transport

CORRECT ANSWER
Diffusion would mean the plant would lose nitrates to the soil
EDDIE SAYS
Did you get this one? Remember that active transport is the movement of particles from low to high concentrations. Diffusion is the opposite where particles move from high to low concentrations. If this happened here, the plant would become drained of all nutrients.
  • Question 9

Glucose is transported into cells for respiration. The picture below shows three molecules of glucose outside the cell and five molecules of glucose inside the cell.

 

Select which arrow fits best in box a and box b below.

 

Image of carrier proteins transporting glucose

CORRECT ANSWER
(a) ↓
(b) ↓
EDDIE SAYS
Study the picture carefully and you should see that there is really only one direction the arrow could work. The three molecules outside have to go into the cell. The glucose travels against a concentration gradient from a lower concentration to a higher concentration via the carrier proteins. So the arrows both point from the smaller concentration of molecules to the larger concentration.
  • Question 10

George and Paul are taking care of their house plants. George adds some fertiliser to one of the plants. The fertiliser contains nitrogen in the form of nitrates.

George and Paul both think that the plant's root hair cells absorb the nitrates. However, George thinks this process is by osmosis, whereas Paul thinks that the nitrates are absorbed through active transport.

 

Who is correct? 

CORRECT ANSWER
Paul
EDDIE SAYS
Now you could have guessed this and got the right answer but would you be able to explain why you opted for that person?! The answer is Paul - but why? Nutrients such as nitrates are absorbed through root hair cells. This can't be due to the process of osmosis because osmosis refers to the movement of water molecules and not nitrates. Well done for completing this challenging activity. Are you ready to try another one?
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